Kimberly Kelly: Faculty Entrepreneur develops new cancer drug

June 5, 2017 by

Kimberly Kelly is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and a preceptor on the Pharmacology Training Grant at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She and her colleague, Julien Dimastromatteo made the headlines of UVA Today for their development of two products for diagnosing and treating of plectin-positive cancers through a company called iTi Health which was founded by Dr. Kelly in 2010.

Dr. Kelly started the company after discovering, in her lab at UVA in 2008, a protein, called plectin, which is found on the cell surface of certain cancer cells, but not on healthy cells while she was researching pancreatic cancer and has since discovered it in other cancers, such as ovarian, head and neck, and esophageal cancers. Kelly founded the company to help take the research from the laboratory to consumer shelves for use a patient care. Kelly’s team has been working on a new drug treatment for the plectin-positive cancers in hopes that the treatment can eliminate cancer cells while avoiding damage to healthy cells, thus reducing side effects to the cancer patient in which chemotherapy has not been able to accomplish.

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